USU Football: In Wisconsin, Ags face familiar challenge
Logan • Rewind. Repeat.
Utah State's formula for defending Utah last week was simple on paper, though much more difficult to execute: Throw an extra defender in the tackle box, make John White work for his yardage and challenge the Ute quarterbacks to win the game with their arms.
It was a sound strategy that led to the Aggies to their biggest win in years. Expect USU to employ a similar approach on Saturday when the Aggies travel to Camp Randall Stadium to face Wisconsin.
The Aggies face another great running back in Montee Ball, who figures to be a first-round NFL draft pick next spring. But the Badgers don't have Russell Wilson. He's in Seattle playing for the Seahawks. Instead, Danny O'Brien is the quarterback, and he has struggled so far in throwing the ball down the field.
"We're going to have the same mentality that we took into the Utah game," Aggies senior linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu said. "Montee Ball is probably one of the best backs in the nation. If we can him out the same way we took John White out, then we have a chance to have the game go our way."
Doing that will require the linebackers to tackle as well as Filimoeatu and Kyler Fackrell did last week. Being successful will also require good man-to-man coverage out of the secondary like last week, when Willie Davis and Nevin Lawson were highly effective against DeVonte Christopher and Dres Anderson.
The Aggies will also bring pressure and different blitzes in an effort to confuse Wisconsin's big offensive line. But the Badgers are in flux; they just fired their offensive line coach on Sunday.
"Ball is a lot like the White kid," USU head coach Gary Andersen said. "He stops and starts well, and he can create in space. It's going to be a challenge to stop him."
Andersen is looking for a kicker. True freshman Brock Warren started the Utah game and got pulled after missing a field goal and an extra point. Josh Thompson finished the game without a mistake. Andersen like's Warren's leg strength and thinks that the enormity of the game got the best of him....Andersen said that Cam Webb is now the fulltime punt returner, while Devonta Glover-Wright will handle kickoffs from now on. "We've got to find more time for Devonta," Andersen said. "It's getting hard to keep him off the field."
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Utah State at Wisconsin
Saturday, 6 p.m., Big Ten Network